Hi! My name is Sarette Patrick and I am a rising senior at Pecos Connections Academy. I have been a part of Evolvement since my sophomore year. I joined Evolvement after they presented about the program in my math class. I was excited about how you could earn points by participating in events. Little did I know that I would end up joining the leadership team two years later and participating in two partner presentations. All the while I was creating change in my community and state, building confidence in myself and abilities, as well as making amazing friendships and experiences along the way.
My first partner presentation was to the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board. I had never done anything this big with Evolvement before so I was very nervous. But after a practice meeting and a thorough explanation on what was going to happen on presentation day, I felt more than prepared. My presentation was about No Minor Sale, what it is, what we do, and a request for the Justice Board to sign on with us. We talked about the dangers of flavored tobacco products, what targeted marketing is, and other various tobacco issues. I also included a slide with statistics comparing certain parts of New Mexico as well as New Mexico as a whole’s tobacco use rate data. Otero County had one of the highest rates of youth tobacco use so it was imperative that we do our best to convince them to sign on with No Minor Sale. The most exciting part is that the board did end up signing on with us. I felt so happy because I knew this was the first step in the right direction for Otero County to handle its high tobacco use rates. And! I had helped create this change. For the first time, I felt like I was really making an impact in my community!
A few months later I was asked to participate in a partner presentation to the Center of Health Innovation. Remembering how rewarding the previous partner presentation was, I happily agreed to do this one. I was less nervous now that I knew how these projects worked. Also this time there would be three other girls participating with me. It almost seemed like the prep time and presentation flew by just because I was so ready and prepared for it. Again, I talked about No Minor Sale and presented all the facts, statistics, and data related to youth tobacco use, flavored products, and illegal sales to minors. And again, I felt so rewarded making such an impact! It was also really nice working together with all the other girls.
After both these projects, I realized how much I had grown as a person. Public speaking was slowly getting easier and easier for me. I was becoming far more confident in my ideas and abilities than I had ever been before. I realized how easy it actually was to make a difference.
Through Evolvement I feel empowered. I know I can use my own voice to create change. I am actually making a tangible impact on those around me. Now partner presentations feel fun rather than scary, making an impact feels possible rather than far-fetched, and my voice feels louder than ever!